Trademark lawsuit resolved between National Alliance on Mental Health, ex-Des Moines affiliate

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A Des Moines mental health nonprofit has resolved its legal differences with its former national parent organization.

Mindspring Mental Health Alliance, formerly NAMI of Greater Des Moines, ended its relationship with the Washington, D.C.-based National Alliance on Mental Illness in early 2021. In October, the parent organization sued Mindspring, accusing the breakaway group of continuing to use NAMI branding in violation of the organization's trademarks.

At the time, Mindspring representatives told the Des Moines Register they believed the lawsuit wasn't really about a few missed pieces of intellectual property, which the group said had all been removed prior to the filing of the lawsuit.

For subscribers: Eight months after split, national mental health group sues former Des Moines affiliate

Instead, attorney Charles Wittmack said, Mindspring believed the suit was a continuation of the same disputes over fundraising and program design that led Mindspring to split off in the first place — a claim attorneys for the national group denied.

Mindspring, which had formerly offered NAMI-developed programs, designed its own online-oriented webinars and other services after COVID-19 hit, and complained that the state and national organizations ordered them to return to using NAMI programs while fundraising off the new programs' success.

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Whatever caused the underlying dispute, the lawsuit is over. On June 10, nearly a year before the scheduled trial date in May 2023, the parties filed a joint stipulation to dismiss it, saying the dispute "having been amicably resolved."

Wittmack and Mindspring Executive Director Michele Keenan did not return messages seeking comment on the resolution of the case.

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William Morris covers courts for the Des Moines Register. He can be contacted at, 715-573-8166 or on Twitter at @DMRMorris.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: NAMI settles trademark lawsuit with former Des Moines affiliate Mindspring